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  • Writer's pictureThe Therapy Place Team

Gaslighting: What it is and what to do about it


"Gaslighting" is a term that has come into really common usage in the past few years. Some would argue that it is overused, and likely so because of misunderstandings about what it is (and what it isn't).


What is gaslighting?


Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse that involves making someone doubt their own perceptions and memories. The term comes from the 1944 movie "Gaslight," in which a husband manipulates his wife into thinking she is losing her mind by dimming the gaslights in their home and then denying that anything has changed when she points it out.


Gaslighting can take many forms, but some common tactics include:


Denying that something happened, even if the victim has proof or witnesses

Dismissing the victim's emotions or concerns as overreacting or being too sensitive

Twisting the victim's words or actions to make them seem crazy or irrational

Blaming the victim for the gaslighter's behavior or actions

Isolating the victim from friends and family to make them more dependent on the gaslighter.


What to do about gaslighting in a relationship?


If you suspect that your partner is gaslighting you, it's important to take action to protect yourself and your mental health. Here are some steps you can take:


Educate yourself about gaslighting: The first step in dealing with gaslighting is to understand what it is and how it works. Talk to a therapist or do some research online to learn more about the signs of gaslighting and how it can impact your mental health.


Set boundaries: If you feel comfortable doing so, talk to your partner about their behavior and how it makes you feel. Be clear about your boundaries and what you will not tolerate in your relationship. If your partner refuses to respect your boundaries, it may be time to consider ending the relationship.


Seek support: Gaslighting can be incredibly isolating and can make you feel like you're going crazy. Reach out to friends, family, or a therapist for support and validation. It's important to have people in your life who believe you and can help you regain your sense of reality.


Practice self-care: Gaslighting can take a toll on your mental health, so it's important to take care of yourself. Make time for activities that bring you joy and help you relax. Practice mindfulness or meditation to help you stay grounded and focused on the present moment.


Consider ending the relationship: If your partner refuses to acknowledge their gaslighting behavior and make changes, it may be time to end the relationship. Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse, and you deserve to be in a relationship where you are respected and valued.


In conclusion, gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse that can have serious consequences for your mental health and well-being. If you suspect that your partner is gaslighting you, it's important to take action to protect yourself and seek support from friends, family, or a therapist. Remember that you deserve to be in a relationship where you are respected and valued, and don't be afraid to set boundaries or end the relationship if necessary.


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